Hedgehogs, garden projects and Newlands Primary School
Hedgehogs are cherished and loved by many in the UK for their unique appearance and gentle nature, considered to be a symbol of wildlife conservation and an important part of the UK’s natural heritage. Although once abundant, hedgehog populations in the UK have been declining in recent years due to habitat loss, road accidents, pesticides, and predation. There are many initiatives around the UK to conserve this species and increase their population numbers, with the Newlands Primary School doing their bit to help the cause.
Newlands Primary School and their Garden Project
Newlands Primary School is a well-established educational institution located in Broadstairs, Kent. It is a vibrant and inclusive school that provides a nurturing environment for students to learn and grow. With a commitment to academic excellence and holistic development, Newlands offers a comprehensive curriculum that caters to the individual needs and interests of its students.
The schools Garden Project was organised by the staff for the children to learn about wildlife and their natural habitats. There was a focus placed on getting the children to spend time outside in an increasingly digital age, whilst at the same time gaining invaluable practical knowledge about the animals, creatures and wildlife that reside in their local area. Newlands reached out to the local businesses including Blaze Signs, B&Q and Wickes to donate material that would aid them in organising the project. Many of our staff here at Blaze Signs have a connection to local schools, whether that’s our friends or family members working in them, or children that attend them, so our help didn’t require a second thought…
Our help towards it
Dan, from our acrylic department, used the machinery and tools found in our manufacturing facilities to create two hedgehog boxes that we could donate to the Garden Project. A hedgehog box, also known as a hedgehog house or hedgehog shelter, is a man-made structure designed to provide a safe and suitable habitat for hedgehogs. The boxes we made are made from wood, consist of one large area for the hedgehog to reside and a smaller entrance tunnel. The children of Newlands Primary School then proceeded to decorate them in a natural form, ensuring that they blend in well with the local environment.
The purpose of a hedgehog box is to offer a secure place to nest, hibernate, or seek shelter from harsh weather conditions, predators, or disturbances. They should be designed with specific features to meet the needs of these nocturnal creatures. They may include a removable lid or roof for easy access and cleaning, a small entrance hole to keep out larger animals, and a spacious interior with bedding materials, such as straw or leaves, to provide warmth and insulation.
By providing these hedgehog boxes in suitable locations, Newlands Primary School can support and nurture hedgehog populations and contribute to their conservation efforts. These boxes help mitigate the loss of natural habitats and provide alternative safe spaces for hedgehogs to thrive.
Environmental and Social sustainability go hand in hand
Participating in this initiative and contributing to Newlands’ Garden Project has had positive impacts on both our environmental and social sustainability efforts. Here’s how:
1. Environmental Sustainability:
- As urbanization and habitat loss continue to threaten hedgehog populations, providing suitable habitats can help mitigate the negative effects of habitat fragmentation.
- Hedgehogs play a vital role in the ecosystem by controlling populations of invertebrates, such as slugs and snails, which can otherwise become pests.
- The presence of hedgehogs in the school environment can serve as an educational opportunity for students to learn about local wildlife, biodiversity, and the importance of conservation. It helps foster a sense of environmental stewardship and encourages students to appreciate and protect the natural world.
2. Social Sustainability:
- This contribution promotes community engagement and awareness, allowing students, teachers, and parents to actively participate in conservation efforts and connect with nature.
- By becoming involved with the school’s conservation initiatives, we strengthen the sense of community and foster a shared responsibility for environmental stewardship, promoting a culture of sustainability and care for the local environment and inspiring future generations to be environmentally conscious citizens.
- Through the provision of labour and materials free of charge, we’re not eating up invaluable school resources which can otherwise be used on further education of the children, enriching their school experience.
- Cameras are going to be discretely installed so the children are able to watch the hedgehogs in these boxes, with a live feed running 24 hours a day, hopefully soon we’ll catch a glimpse of them and we’ll be sure to share!